January 28, 2016 / 6:36 PM / 3 years ago

Sanofi aims for increased presence in Iran

PARIS, Jan 28 (Reuters) - Sanofi signed a memorandum of cooperation with Iran’s government aimed at boosting its presence in the country, the French drugmaker said on Thursday.

The agreement was signed during the visit to Paris of President Hassan Rouhani during which France and Iran agreed to a series of transactions with several French firms.

His visit, after a stop-off in Rome for more deals, follows an agreement between Iran and the West on the Middle-Eastern country’s nuclear programme and the resultant lifting of western sanctions this month.

Medicines were an exception in the nuclear sanctions imposed on Iran, thanks to exemptions for essential drugs and other humanitarian goods. Yet shipping drugs into the country was still difficult.

Sanofi said in statement it would consider expanding partnerships with local manufacturers to enhance the sharing of its expertise in industrial quality standards and increase the transfer of pharmaceutical production technology and know-how.

The company will also collaborate with Iran’s ministry of Health on programs for prevention and control of chronic and non-communicable diseases as well as on managing related risk factors, such as diabetes.

Sanofi said that 55 percent of is sales in Iran were from products manufactured locally.

Iran is a potentially lucrative market of around 80 million consumers, ripe to be tapped by drugmakers and many other industries.

Sanofi will compete in Iran with pharmaceutical firms such as Denmark’s Novo Nordisk or Japan’s Takeda as well as with Indian generics maker Cipla. (Reporting by Matthias Blamont and Ankur Banerjee; Editing by Elaine Hardcastle)

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